Select Committee on Agriculture Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Grimsby Fish Merchants' Association Ltd (T4)

  The Grimsby FMA is a processors' organisation looking after the interests of over 100 companies, the majority in Grimsby, but also in Hull, Bridlington and Scarborough. Our continuing concern is the state of fish stocks and the decline in landings throughout the UK. We prefer to support our local market, but increasingly it is relying on imports from Third Countries. We would hope to see an improvement in the number of vessels using Grimsby and this could only happen if there is investment on the catching side to modernise the fleet.

  Too many processors are chasing too few fish and in line with reduced quotas, catching efforts and landings, it seems inevitable there should be a re-structure of port market operations.

  The benefit of electronic auctions are clear and we support the introduction of them to the UK market. Grimsby is proceeding with an electronic auction, which eventually will be successful, but in the short term will take some time to develop because of the aversion by the industry to change.

  The salmon industry and other aquaculture activities benefit from their exclusion of paying the SFIA levy and this disparity needs addressing.

  Our sector are concerned by the continual stream of legislation such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, The Climate Change Levy, Control Regulations, Hygiene Charges and the Veterinary Inspection Charge, which are proving difficult and costly for the industry to comply with. "A level playing field effect" must be applied in the interpretation of this legislation so that our European colleagues, who may not always be subjected to equally stringent controls, are not receiving a trading advantage.

  We feel there should be research into the development for other uses for fish offal, as it makes sense to maximise the value from an increasingly scarce commodity.

  We support strongly the need for a strategy to take account of all the industry's requirements that can lead eventually to a profitable and sustainable seafish industry.

  Finally, we support the view that the proposal for a National Fisheries/Seafood Institute is a far sighted proposal and suggest that this be driven forward with its existing impetus as the recent SFIA Survey showed overwhelming support for this idea.

  I hope you find these comments useful and constructive.

27 April 2001

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